Chestnut Oak

Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus)
Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana)

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Common Name(s): Chestnut Oak

Scientific Name: Quercus montana

Distribution: Eastern United States

Tree Size: 60-70 ft (18-22 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 47 lbs/ft3 (750 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .57, .75

Janka Hardness: 1,130 lbf (5,030 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 13,300 lbf/in2 (91.7 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,590,000 lbf/in2 (11.00 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 6,830 lbf/in2 (47.1 MPa)

Shrinkage:Radial: 5.3%,Tangential: 10.8%, Volumetric: 16.4%, T/R Ratio: 2.0

Color/Appearance: Has a light to medium brown color, though there can be a fair amount of variation in color. Conversely, Red Oak tends to be slightly redder, but is by no means a reliable method of determining the type of Oak.

Grain/Texture: Has medium-to-large pores and a fairly coarse grain.

Rot Resistance: Chestnut Oak has been rated as having very good resistance to decay.

Workability: Easy to glue, and takes stain and finishes very well.

Odor: Has a tell-tale smell that is common to most oaks. Most find it appealing.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, oak has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye and skin irritation, as well as asthma-like symptoms. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Slightly more expensive than Red Oak, White Oak is in good/sustainable supply and is moderately priced. Thicker 8/4 planks, or quartersawn boards are slightly more expensive per board foot.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Cabinetry, furniture, interior trim, flooring, boatbuilding, barrels, and veneer.

Comments: Chestnut Oak falls into the white oak group, and shares many of the same traits as White Oak (Quercus alba). White Oak, along with its brother Red Oak, are commonly used domestic lumber species. Hard, durable, and moderately priced, White Oak presents an exceptional value to woodworkers—which explains why it is so widely used in cabinet and furniture making.

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Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus)
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Deborah C Williamson

Hi, I came into seven 8/4 ten foot boards of this wood and I’m trying to identify it. I’m thinking chestnut oak. Any input? It is hard as nails and corrodes my cast iron tabletops within 24 hours. It seems to wick water readily when under a carport when it rains. It is very old, rough sawn with some nails in it and I don’t know of it’s origin.

Danny Leitner

I just took down five chestnut oaks in the yard do to a Blythe that is killing chestnut oaks on the east coast. I usually work with red and white oak but this chestnut is beautiful after having it sawed into 5/4 boards. It’s going the same path as the chestnut tree.

David N, Johann

chesnut oak is here in Brown County Indiana. Just cut around four hundred board feet for a cabin floor. The trees here are dying from who knows what and many are hollow.

Gregory Richards

I am a professional woodworker who had the great privilege and pleasure of working with Chestnut Oak only once in my life. I haven’t been able to find it anywhere since. I was building a set of staircases in the home of a heart surgeon in a small town located in Northern North Carolina – I don’t recall the name of the town. The surgeon, however, was the head of the cardiology department in the local hospital in that town. In any case, the main set of the homes’ stairs which led to the second floor had newel posts made… Read more »


I am just finishing a blanket box from a Chesnut oak that came down in hurricane Irene several years ago on our property. We milled and dried the stock. Just now assembling it after finish-spraying the parts. Amazing stuff to work…never found it prior, and can’t find it anywhere at this time. beautiful finishing characteristics, however..BTW I tried to upload a pic of it but it didn’t take….not sure why…


I just finished a hike up a mountain here in NW Georgia. At about 1200 feet this oak starts to flourish. It grows in and all around on rocks and boulders. The White Oak grows at lower levels here at about 600 feet in the lower parts of the river bottoms. This is a very hard species to log due to where it grows that’s why the availability is small. I looked for acorns growing on the trees and did not see any. I would like to get some to plant at lower levels, maybe they will appear later in… Read more »

Emily Dewan Mueller